This is an old favorite from our 2014, 2015, 2016 Thanksgiving specials. The first year we tested these fluffy sweet potatoes, they were so incredible. So much so, they were requested the following year. But I wanted it to present nicer, so we added the the candied pecan and dried cherry topping and garnished each container with fresh sage. It definitely took it up a notch or two! If you do not want to use bourbon, you can use orange juice instead. BUT the bourbon makes this southern recipe special. It’s a great side for holiday feasts, but don’t limit it to the holidays ~ it’s good anytime! Particularly with roasted pork!
Makes 10-12 servings
- 4 lbs pounds organic sweet potatoes. Washed.
- 6 T butter, plus more for cherries
- 3 T organic brown sugar
- 1/4 C good bourbon (or 1/4 C orange juice)
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 T freshly grated organic lemon zest
- 1/2 T freshly grated organic orange zest
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 C candied pecans
- 4 T salted butter
- 1 C dried cherries
- 1-1/2 T fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1/3 C fresh sage leaves, whole
FOR THE POTATOES
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork. Place potatoes on a parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for one hour or until potatoes are very tender. Once cooled, scoop pulp from the skin and place pulp in food processor. Process with butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon and orange zest and chili flakes. If additional salt is required, this is the step to add more.
FOR THE DRIED CHERRIES
In a medium saucepan on medium low heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add in dried cherries and chopped sage leaves. Mix to thoroughly coat the cherries. Warm for about 5 minutes until cherries are slightly softened. Set aside until you’re ready to top sweet potatoes.
FOR THE CANDIED PECANS
Makes 4 Cups (you’ll only use 2 cups for this recipe – the rest are for snacking!)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 2/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 C unsalted butter
- 1/3 C hot honey
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 4 C pecans, whole
- 1/4 C white sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a medium size bowl, combine cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cayenne pepper and salt. in a small bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add butter and melt. Once melted add hot honey and maple syrup. Stir until well incorporated and warm for about 2-4 minutes. In a medium size bowl, add whole pecans and pour butter and maple syrup mixture over the top and add spice mixture. Stir until completely coated. On a parchment lined sheet pan, spread coated pecans in one layer and place in over for about 15 minutes. Scoop pecan up with a spatula so the other side is exposed. Place back in oven for another 10-15 minutes. Dust with remaining sugar and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes longer. Pecans should have a rich, maple brown color.
Place whipped potatoes in a nice serving dish or platter. Garnish the top with 2 cups candied pecans and dried cherry / sage mixture. Cover and place in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until warmed through. Serve warm with a drizzle of butter and maple syrup and garnish with whole sage leaves.